CRICKHOWELL and District U3A members paid a visit to Blaenavon Ironworks this week to view the centrepiece of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Organised by Gill Evans this was the third outing of the summer for her newly formed Day Trippers Special Interest Group.  It drew 23 people to view the monumental remains of the blast furnaces and the associated workers’ houses, several of which are furnished in the style of different decades.

The ironworks was seen by a national audience as the location for the reality television series Coal House in which three families went back to live as if in the Victorian period in the Stack Square houses.  Subsequently the site has also been used as the location for Doctor Who and for the TV adaption of Philip Pullman’s novel His Dark Materials.

After a brief welcome and introduction to the site by Gwen Williams and Roger Bowen, metallurgist volunteer guide Mike Woodward showed the group the cast houses in one of which is an audio-visual display illustrating the tapping of the furnaces. The members were then free to explore the site and its houses with its furnished interiors.

During the last few months, the U3A has been returning to a form of normality after the Covid pandemic and has even increased the number of groups providing activities to retired and semi-retired people.

As well as learning new skills and honing existing interests the University of the Third is very much a social organisation where people who share a common bond can meet.  Apart from the Day Trippers SIG a Guitar Group has also been formed this year.

The U3A internationally celebrates its 40th anniversary on September 21st when Crickhowell and District U3A will be holding a picnic in the Castle grounds.  Any non-members of the U3A are welcome to join us to learn more about the organisation.